Lung cancer is just one of the deadly consequences of smoking, but sometimes nonsmokers get lung cancer too. David Kornguth, MD, of Golden Gate Cancer Center in the SoMa (South of Market) neighborhood of San Francisco, California, specializes in using advanced radiation therapy technologies like four-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (4D CRT) and image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) to optimize the results of lung cancer treatment while minimizing damage to healthy tissues. Call the practice’s Mission District office today to find out more, or fill in the online form to book a consultation.

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What is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is a disease that develops when cells in your lungs undergo changes that make them multiply uncontrollably. The cells form a mass or tumor that affects your lung function.

Lung cancer typically affects one lung to begin with, but unless you receive treatment, it can spread to the other lung as well as the nearby lymph nodes. Lung cancer can also spread (metastasize) to other parts of your body, which makes it far more challenging to treat.

Are there different types of lung cancer?

There are two types of lung cancer. The most common is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which accounts for about 90% of cases. There are three forms of NSCLC:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Large cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

Small cell lung cancer is the other form of this disease, accounting for just 10% of cases. It tends to grow much faster than NSCLC and is more likely to metastasize.

What causes lung cancer?

Smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer by far. Other substances besides tobacco that increase your chances of having lung cancer include diesel exhaust, asbestos, radon gas, uranium, and arsenic.

Smokers usually develop NSCLC, whereas nonsmokers with the disease typically develop small cell lung cancer.

You’re more at risk of getting lung cancer if there’s a family history of the disease.

What symptoms does lung cancer cause?

Lung cancer can cause symptoms such as:

  • Chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hoarseness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Coughing up blood
  • Recurrent pneumonia

If you have these symptoms, your doctor might advise you to undergo tests to confirm a diagnosis of lung cancer. These tests could include a PET scan, CT scan, MRI scan, fused PET and CT, or electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy.

How is lung cancer treated?

Lung cancer treatments may vary according to how far your cancer has advanced. Surgery might be an option if the lung cancer diagnosis comes early enough.  Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also valuable treatments for lung cancer, alone or in combination with surgery.

Dr. Kornguth specializes in using the most up-to-date, advanced radiation therapy treatments and technologies. These include:

  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT)
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
  • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
  • Four-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (4D CRT)

These technologies target cancer cells precisely, helping to minimize the effect on surrounding tissues. They also require smaller doses of radiation. 4D CRT is especially useful for treating lung cancer because it measures how tumors move when you’re breathing. This enables Dr. Kornguth to deliver your radiation therapy with the utmost precision.

When you undergo lung cancer treatment with Dr. Kornguth, he works closely with your oncologists to ensure the best possible outcomes. His focus is on your quality of life — treating your cancer effectively while reducing side effects.

If you have any questions about the latest radiation therapy treatments for lung cancer, call Golden Gate Cancer Center today or book an appointment online.